Year 1 of marriage – what I’ve learned so far

My View
By: Lauren Gibbs, Associate Editor
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This weekend, my husband, Alex, and I will celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary.
We’ll be spending it walking down memory lane in Chico, where we first met almost five years ago. And we’ll probably reminisce about our happy wedding day and remember everything we’ve been through in year one of marriage.
It’s been a year full of dealing with death and divorce in our families, but also celebrating career changes and cheerful times.
It’s also been filled with lessons in life and love.
As I look back on year one, I know there has been so much I’ve learned and will continue to learn as the years go on.
‘Keep holding hands’
On our wedding invitations, we asked guests to include a piece of advice to us. Some were silly, but others were heartfelt. Some advised up to remember to be each other’s best friend, while others said to memorize the phrase, “I’m sorry, honey. You’re right.”
“Keep holding hands,” was my grandmother’s advice.
She and my grandfather were married for more than 50 years before he passed away.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in year one of marriage is that Alex and I are on the same team. Holding hands reminds me of that. He’s my biggest cheerleader and vice versa.
Pick your battles
A piece of advice that my parents passed along to Alex and me was to pick your battles.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. Is it worth it to fight over the cap left off the toothpaste or a dirty dish in the sink? Probably not.
My parents live by this motto – which I think is part of their successful almost 30-year marriage. They’ve learned what is worth bringing up and what should be just brushed off.
Be happy with what you have
Within the last year, our income slashed drastically as Alex went back to school full time. We’ve had to get creative with our spending and “date nights,” but have learned to be happy with what we have now.
We have a nice house together, a rambunctious puppy, a stubborn cat, good friends and family and are able to put food on the table. Despite not being able to go out to dinner or travel as much as we’d like, we have everything we need. But as friends go on trips to Europe and are updating their houses, it’s hard not to want to try to keep up with Joneses. But we’ve learned to live happily within our means.
Respect each other
Another piece of advice I received while Alex and I were still dating was that respect is so important in marriage. It can be as simple as your tone of voice or common courtesy. I think sometimes people take their spouses for granted – not thanking them for what they do.
We each have our “chores” around the house, but we try to remember to appreciate what the other does.

Some say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Although it has been full of changes and ups and downs, I think Alex and I came out from year one as a stronger and closer couple. We’ve experienced so much together and I know there’s so much more yet to come.